Right now I am boarding 2 horses, Red and Beau. Red is my "new" horse that I bought in May, 6 years old. Beau is my 14-yr-old barrel horse that I retired this year because of arthritis problems. So he is serving as the pasture buddy for Red.
I started boarding them at the end of May. My farrier came to me the first time, but he is now having all his clients come to him. No big deal, as he's only about 20 minutes away. So I had an appointment with him last night to bring the boys over.
Right now I am borrowing my boarding couple's 3-horse slant load, with rear tack. I just finished school this year and I am searching for a trailer of my own. Red went through a little training with me to get him to load onto the trailer, but now I just point him at the door, very lightly tap the lunge whip on his hip, and up he goes. No problem.
Now Beau hasn't been on a slant load with rear tack for 4 years, and we had some trouble the last time he did. He's just been hauled in a very large stock trailer otherwise. He's a big horse (16.1 hands) and I have always had difficulty loading him onto the trailer his entire life. I think he's claustraphobic.
Normally what I do with Beau is lunge him to get him to load, if I am having trouble getting him to load. I was worried about it because of his arthritic back right leg (in his stifle and hock). I knew it would hurt to make him lunge around, but I normally don't have to do it very long and he gets the idea and goes on.
Going to the farrier, I loaded Beau in about 10 minutes, which I thought was pretty dang good. I was happy with that. Red hopped on right behind him in the back slot. (My boarding couple has stuff in the front stall, so I loaded Beau into the middle slot.)
After the farrier is done with them, it's time to go home. Beau knew I wanted him to go on that trailer. You can see him looking at the door and see him thinking about it. He knows he's supposed to get in there. Things started getting sour after about 30 minutes. He's getting tired, but I know that he knows he's supposed to get on that thing. So he turned his butt toward me a couple times to get away from lunging. I honestly didn't think anything of it, because he has NEVER done anything as far as kicking. EVER. So the first few times I just pushed him away and made him continue on. Then a little while later, I had my body tight against his butt on one of the times he flung it around, so when he kicked, it didn't do more than take the wind out of my lungs. But it was still a kick regardless.
My farrier then took him to try, and he probably was more gruff that I was with making him move in the lunge, and he got his arm kicked when Beau flung around. He does it so quick there's not much you can do.
Then later I tried again, keeping the rope very short and close. But he still managed to fling me around and gave me a good donkey kick in the thigh and sent me flying into the dirt.
At that point, the sun was down. I was extremely embarrased my horse wouldn't load, not to mention the feeling of pretty much getting punched by your best friend (I've had this horse since he was 6 months old). My farrier said that he'll just keep him overnight and we can try him in his trailer the next day. It's a slant load, but he was the dividers off to the side and the rear tack collapsed, so it's as close to a stock trailer as we are going to get.
So we're going over there tonight.
I'm not going to lunge him, because that clearly isn't going to work with his painful leg and him becoming dangerous to kick. I just thank God he didn't get me lower in the knee, or higher to break my pelvis or ribs.
I've officially never been kicked by a horse before, so I'm feeling more emotional over the whole thing. I had planned to finally let Beau go this spring, because I can only board 2 horses at a time, and I've like another useable riding horse as my second horse. But after all this, he's just not the same horse I grew up with, and as of today, I'd have no problem taking him to the sale barn this weekend, to be completely honest. My non-horsey husband wanted to just shoot him last night, after he watched Beau kick me across the yard. Which if he would have asked me when I was still lying on the ground, I would have agreed.
I do have a yearling colt my parents are keeping for me, that I could bring up to keep Red company. After talking with my mom and with my husband, and in my mind, it's not worth it to me to try to work through dangerous behavior on a lame horse that's not rideable. I'm just more depressed about the whole situation, but maybe it was a slap in the face to wake up and send him down the road.
Why didn't he just go on the trailer......... He knew that's where he was supposed to go.
I'm just crossing my fingers we can get him on calmly and without a fight tonight to get him home.